Saturday, January 09, 2010

Not How It Was Supposed To Be

My daughter is home from China. Yesterday's homecoming was not the reunion at the airport that we were envisioning taking place a week from now.

I would never and could never presume to speak for what our precious friends are going through. But since my daughter walked this road so closely alongside them last week, it has touched our family in a profound way as well. We are dealing with grief in our home.

A good friend suggested I study the "cycles of grief" and become acquainted with the grieving process, and then just encourage her to talk about it when she feels like it. Good advice. Of course, I want to be careful what psychology I read, having learned to stay away from the "Man Most High" theology, which so permeates even Christian psychology. Any psychological help I embrace must hold a very high view of God.

This morning I came across the following article which I found particularly helpful. Exploring Myths and Transformation In The Grief Process. For Christians, the "grief cycle" has been transformed. We have a Redeemer. We can grieve with hope. Please read the article if your life has been touched by grief. (And, in this Genesis 3 world, whose life hasn't?)

I certainly do not have any great insights to share at this point. She only arrived home from the airport yesterday and we have not yet begun to get back to any sort of "normal" here. For us, that time is much closer than for our friends.

But, there is grace.

When we were going through our adoption, I read John Piper's book, Future Grace. (The first 3 chapters are available for download here.) I cannot stress enough what a profoundly helpful book that is for any Christian, but I almost feel like it should be required reading for any Christian adoptive family. The day before they were to say goodbye to Johanna, I told my sweet daughter that there was grace already apportioned to her for the day ahead. God already knew she would need it, and it was there for her... waiting.

And it was.

The road ahead is a long one for our friends. I don't know what it will be like for my daughter. But, like the above article says,

"...the historic, Christian Faith actually provides the possibility of a more hopeful, less messy experience of grief by providing a strong Redeemer – a living Person who calls Himself “The Way, Truth, and Life” – and who enters our world to transform it, by “bearing our griefs and sorrows” (Isaiah 53). His victory at the cross, triumphal resurrection, and promise to begin renewing all things right now (especially our hearts of stone), as well as a future new creation where death is finally and completely removed, changes everything. No longer do those who look to him need to sorrow “as those who have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13)."

Please, please continue praying for our friends. And for Johanna.


Mindy said...

I will be praying Cyndi for everyone!
Thanks for the links! have you ever found any good links for Christian ways to deal with anxiety.
I am coming to terms with the fact that I do have anxiety issues -- which may stem from a real heart thing but I will never know for sure if I don't get the anxiety part of it dealt with -- so I'm looking for God's way of doing so.... thanks for your love and kindness! You have NO idea how much your fb message helped me!!!!

in HIM -

Cyndi said...

Mindy thank you. So, so much. The Piper book I mentioned in this post *really* helps with anxiety as well. I'll see what links I sent you on FB and post any additional ones that I have bookmarked. Been praying for you, friend. Thank you for "holding the rope" for us as well during this time. I'm so glad God brought us together through blogland! You are a dear sister.

Jill said...

Cyndi, Thank you so much for the links. We lost my sister in law on New years day to cancer. The article was a great affirmation. Sometime loss can be so hard whether it is expected or not. I will be praying for Bethany and your friends.

Cyndi said...

Oh, Jill! I am so very sorry. You're right... loss is so hard, whether expected or not. It helped me to read this in the article:

"anyone who has suffered a significant loss will tell you, grief is rarely orderly or predictable. On the contrary, each person’s experience of grief is uniquely their own: everyone knows “his own pain,” as the ancient wisdom book Proverbs says."

Please know that I will be praying for your family as you walk through this difficult time, each dealing in your own way with the effects of the loss of your precious loved one. God is so faithful.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Cyndi for sharing all of this. I am still struggling with the loss of a sweet friend, who was found dead a year ago 1/8/09. I am also very careful with what psychology advice I take, as I personally know the effects/consequences of being "helped" with secular psychology.
Thanks for the book recommendation as well. I think that's something that I might need right now...grief, anxiety, grace. Isn't it amazing how God uses EVERYTHING, both good and bad, to care for, love, and bless us (Romans 8:28)?!! By following the adoption process of a family that I don't even know, God has been teaching and molding me. Wow! I wish that I could put it into words that made more sense!!
Still praying...

Cyndi said...

Oh, Elizabeth I am so very sorry about your friend. I know just what you mean about God using what He's doing in another family to help shed light on His character in your own circumstances. The longer I walk with the Lord, the BIGGER He gets to me. He is just so, so good. My prayer for myself (and for those close to me going through grief) is that we will always see Him as good. Romans 8:28 is a lifeline during times like this.